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Visiting the Dead Sea from Tel Aviv

By Viator, October 2015

4.5 131 Reviews | Add your review

The Dead Sea is the second saltiest major body of water on earth, and it is this hyper-salinity, which causes swimmers to be super-buoyant within it, that makes it one of Israel’s major attractions.

The Dead Sea lies 1,312 feet below sea level and is located about 98 km from Tel Aviv. It is fed by the River Jordan and has no outlets streams, causing its high salinity, which is too extreme for marine life and gives it its morbid name.

So what’s there to do in such a salty calm and lifeless body of water? Well, it’s nearly impossible to sink in the Dead Sea, so a popular activity is to have your picture taken while floating on the surface of the water and reading a book. It is also a great place to give yourself a mud bath, as the Dead Sea is one of the world’s richest sources of natural salts. There are plenty of beaches to choose from.

Visiting the Dead Sea from Tel Aviv is particularly appealing because of all the sites you can see en route. From Tel Aviv you descend into the Judean desert, passing the Inn of the Good Samaritan and Masada, the mountaintop fort built by King Herod over 2,000 years ago. Also en route is the Ein Gedi oasis and the ancient settlement of Qumran. On the drive back to Tel Aviv you have the option of visiting the ancient city of Jericho, one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world.

Seeing all of these sites using public transport is impossible — you’ll need to book a tour, which will include most or all of the attractions listed above. If you only want to go to the Dead Sea, bypassing the other attractions, it’s possible to book tickets on the one daily bus (route 421) from Tel Aviv. This bus leaves from the terminal next to the Central Railway Station at 8:40 a.m. The official destination name of this bus is ‘Ein Bokek’ It has 11 stops on the dead sea and costs 53 NS (around $12). Tickets booked in advance can be collected on the morning of travel at the ticket window of the bus terminal; it is smart to book a day or so before.

No other buses go directly from Tel Aviv to the Dead Sea. If you want to go at another time of day, you’ll need to change buses in Jerusalem.

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